For decades, humans have been inflicting one blow after another on our oceans. Global heating, ocean acidification, the discharge of chemicals, especially fertilizers, the dumping of massive plastics waste, rapacious overfishing and the use of trawls that rake and destroy seabed habitats where the oceanic food chain begins, seabed drilling accidents. It's been a prescription for the death of our oceans on which all life, marine and terrestrial, depends.
Apparently we can reverse all that.
The glory of the world’s oceans could be restored within a generation, according to a major new scientific review. ...The scientists say there is now the knowledge to create an ocean renaissance for wildlife by 2050 and with it bolster the services that the world’s people rely on, from food to coastal protection to climate stability. The measures needed, including protecting large swathes of ocean, sustainable fishing and pollution controls, would cost billions of dollars a year, the scientists say, but would bring benefits 10 times as high.The law of the sea creates three classes of oceans - ours, yours, and anybody's/nobody's, the vast swathes that we pillage and contaminate.
...progress is far from straightforward. Pollution from farms and plastics still pours into the oceans, the waters are reaching record high temperatures, and destructive fishing is still taking place in many places, with at least one-third of fish stocks overexploited.
“The Mediterranean is still pretty much a basket case,” said Roberts. “And there is horrendous overfishing throughout large parts of south-east Asia and India, where fisheries are just catching anything they trawl on the seabed to render into fish meal and oil.”
The global heating of the oceans has driven the few hundred surviving northern right whales along the coast of the western Atlantic. Here, amid busy shipping lanes and lobster fisheries, they are killed by collisions or drowned in a tangle of ropes, according to Roberts, though new regulations are starting to help.
The Gulf of Mexico suffers massive dead zones owing to huge amounts of manure and fertiliser running off midwest farms, and elsewhere albatrosses continue to be snared by long-line fishers, despite simple solutions being available.The challenge will be to forge a powerful international consensus to do what is required for a protracted period, 30 years, and that puts the public interest, humanity's interest, over the narrow special interests of industrial fishing fleets, seabed miners and such. That's a tall order.